Saturday, May 21, 2016

Battery Power is Power

Uber, which matches drivers with passengers using a mobile app, implements surge pricing during peak periods. Price changes are communicated to drivers and passengers in real-time, allowing both to make rapid decisions about providing or using the service.

Uber's analysis of passenger behavior has revealed [bold added]
when you are more likely to pay double or triple the cost of your ride: when your phone battery is low.

...people are willing to accept up to 9.9 times surge pricing (ouch) if their phones are about to go dead. Data about user batteries is collected because the app uses that information to know when to switch into low-power mode. The idea being: If you really need to get where you’re going, you’ll pay just about anything (or at least 9.9 times anything) to ensure you’re getting a ride home and won’t be stranded. A person with a more fully charged device has time to wait and see if the surge pricing goes down.
In the 21st century the smartphone has become many individuals' principal conduit to information. When buyers lack information, they may pay a lot more than they need to. Knowledge is power, or in this case battery power is power.

My iPhone won't run out of juice--and I can wait for the surge pricing to pass--
with backup power. (Disadvantage: this one weighs 10 oz. and lists for $69.99.)

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